Firefox for iOS launched on Thursday in a limited public preview that rolled out first in New Zealand and will eventually go global. Developer Mozilla is looking to broaden the mobile user base for its browser and needs to get into the Apple ecosystem.
"We need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS," Mozilla release manager Lukas Blakk said in a tweet.
With the preview, Mozilla is asking for feedback on three key features: intelligent search, visual tabs and Firefox Accounts.
The accounts feature should be a big hit with Firefox's desktop users, as it allows them to sync their browser history, tabs and passwords with their iPhone to bring the mobile browsing experience closer to the way their desktop version has been configured. The feature is similar to the way Safari and Chrome work on iOS and is sure to save a lot of time for frequent Firefoxers.
Visual tabs provide a picture preview of all currently open tabs for faster management. Intelligent search, the third highlighted feature, offers search result suggestions from a variety of providers. A toolbar above the keyboard offers a range of search sources, from Wikipedia to Twitter and even privacy-conscious search engine DuckDuckGo.
These features are not necessarily the only things to look forward to in the wider release, however. Mozilla is asking for community feedback, with the promise that collected information will help build new features currently missing.
Firefox used to be the number two Web browser globally, but was surpassed by Chrome in December 2011 and now rests at 11.68 percent global marketshare, according to NetMarketshare.